My Blog Milestones & How I Got To Them

Blogs First Income (Progress) Report - Nisi Wanders

At The Beginning

As writing goes, I've been doing it my whole life. Blogging? I have been doing it a few years. But, it has only been since October that I began to make money, get any engagement or followers. What has changed? I made my blog public.

Well, the first thing I did was a complete overhaul. Why? It was really my electronic journal and contained all the things you could expect to find in a female's diary - rantings and ravings, depressing night's musings, hopes, fears, thoughts I may never share, poems. So, I had many changes to make once the decision to go public formed. I edited posts. I moved the more personal entries into electronic files, added photos to posts, removed all the cuss words, and so on. 

 

 

Actually, I don't know if what I had been doing can really be considered blogging. I was on WordPress.org because it was free and I basically used it as a blank sheet of paper. Each post was a new page. I didn't care about aesthetics and never bothered with using a plugin or learning about them. I never concerned myself with those things. And, I had no idea about how they could really enhance the whole blogging experience. I had to learn all the design factors, including finding out what a "widget" was. It was like entering a foreign land where I was the only one who couldn't speak the language. I ended up experimenting a lot!

What I learned:

  • Editing is your most important tool. I had entries that ran for pages when what I wanted to say or get off my chest could be written on one page.

  • Widgets use is so important in design.

  • Plugins not only give you more creative tools, they can offer details which let you know how your blog is doing statistically.

  • The difference between a Page and a Post. A Page gives you more design control but your followers are only notified when you publish a Post.

  • You can spend days looking for the perfect theme and never find it. (I only ever looked at free ones) I ended up picking a simple one, after many different experiments. I use widgets to change certain factors to the theme.

 

Blog Milestones - Good Advise Is NOT Always The Best Advise - Nisi Wanders

 

Then, I began to simply come out and ask other bloggers. I didn't find much information I could use here either. I mostly got advise on creating the perfect logo, the absolute need for a media kit, and how I must pick one subject and just write about that. Food, parenting, books - didn't really matter the topic. I just had to pick one. That way I would "find an audience."

This advise enabled my procrastination to put off making the blog public because, just as with my journal, I wrote about so many different subjects, I could not pick one I love above all others. As you might have read in my 2017 In Review post, I ended ignoring this advise. Another piece of advise I have yet to follow is that I must post at least twice a week on a set schedule. I do not know if this would help me. I write when I have time and post when it's ready.

What I learned:

  • There is no one right way to construct or write a blog.

  • Use graphics that are bright, colorful, attractive, and clear.

  • Use pictures of yourself often - I am still working on this.

  • Keep pop-ups to a minimum. I think I have one and it needs work.

  • Neatness counts. If a page is too busy it's hard to get into the content - ie: there is a parenting blog I love, but it's just so "busy," I don't visit often.

 

Then, I began to simply come out and ask other bloggers. I didn't find much information I could use here either. I mostly got advise on creating the perfect logo, the absolute need for a media kit, and how I must pick one subject and just write about that. Food, parenting, books - didn't really matter the topic. I just had to pick one. That way I would "find an audience."

This advise enabled my procrastination to put off making the blog public because, just as with my journal, I wrote about so many different subjects, I could not pick one I love above all others. As you might have read in my 2017 In Review post, I ended ignoring this advise. Another piece of advise I have yet to follow is that I must post at least twice a week on a set schedule. I do not know if this would help me. I write when I have time and post when it's ready.

What I learned:

  • There is no one right way to construct or write a blog.

  • Use graphics that are bright, colorful, attractive, and clear.

  • Use pictures of yourself often - I am still working on this.

  • Keep pop-ups to a minimum. I think I have one and it needs work.

  • Neatness counts. If a page is too busy it's hard to get into the content - ie: there is a parenting blog I love, but it's just so "busy," I don't visit often.

Monetizing My Blog

I wanted to try and make a few dollars with the blog. So, I signed up with Bluehost at a great deal and I had to transfer from WP.org to WP.com in order to monetize the blog . It was a process that took only minutes with BlueHost's help. If you want to start a blog you can read about how to create one very simply in an earlier post. It won't tell you how to make a blog that will rock the world, but it can help you get started with relative ease.

Anyway, now I had a blog. It was small. Heck, it still is. I have hundreds of posts from my journal to enter in still and literally thousands of pics to comb through. And, new ideas come to me every day. But, it is up and running and has been for almost 9 weeks now.

I had to learn how monetize it still. So I read a lot on this subject. You guessed it, tons of crap floating out there. I found articles with too much information and some with no information I could use. I became frustrated a lot!

Then I found a reputable sight to sign on with as an affiliate, CJ.com. You click a few buttons and you either get approved immediately, wait for an approval in your email box. CJ makes it very simple to find ads to place on your site easily. You click on one of the advertisers from your list and look at the links they offer. If you see one you like you hit"get link" and it gives you the code to cut and paste on your site. So, that was no problem.

I signed up with shareasale.com, which is great too. But, it takes a little more work to get companies to approve you. Here, you often have to fill out a form for each company and explain how you're a good fit for the company. It's not hard work, just another time-consuming aspect of monetizing. Finding links with their advertisers isn't hard, they give you codes to cut and paste too. But, it's a just little more work than on CJ.

 

I signed up with shareasale.com, which is great too. But, it takes a little more work to get companies to approve you. Here, you often have to fill out a form for each company and explain how you're a good fit for the company. It's not hard work, just another time-consuming aspect of monetizing. Finding links with their advertisers isn't hard, they give you codes to cut and paste too. But, it's a just little more work than on CJ.

I discovered Google Adsense and signed up there. Also, I signed up to become an Amazon Affilaite and both were so easy to join and set up on my site. Adsense gives you a code to cut and past into your theme editor and they do all the work from there. You do not get to choose the ads they place. I haven't seen any on my site that I haven't liked, so I am okay with this. Amazon lets you pick the products to put on your page or you have the option to let them pick items from categories you choose. It then gives you a code to cut and past and you choose where you want to put them (in your theme editor, in a post or page, or in a widget.)

Things were looking up. I had the blog, advertisements, and I had tons of material to run with. I had already decided to have more than one topic so I created a menu for posts I had ready; Parenting, Wellness, etc. I am no expert on blogging at this point - but I created a section to share what I had learned so far. I hope people that read them will learn from my rookie mistakes. The teacher in my can't help doing this! 🙂

What I learned:

  • Do not let ads over-run page.

  • You do not have to use ads from every company that approves you. I applied to a cosmetics company that turned out to sell only hair extensions. Since I know absolutely nothing about this, I will never put up an ad from them.

  • Every page needs ads. 

  • Finding affiliates to work with is easy but time consuming. Once you get started though, it's hardly any work at all.

One Month In

Fast forward one month in and I had not made a penny from my blog, I had 7 followers and I am beginning to doubt myself at this time. I thought uh oh, those "niche" folks were right. my blog is too varied. But, I waited and kept posting about the things I wanted to and hoped things would pick up. And, guess what, they did. A few days after I was about to admit I was all wrong with the direction of my post, I made my first few dollars. $4.39 from Adsense. I was happy like you cannot even understand.

Then, it was time to start incorporating my other social media sites like Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest into my blog by sharing pics from a post or making pins for a post, and tweeting about the blog or a post.

Infusing items from my blog into my other social media has brought in a lot of traffic to my site. I had an average of 21 daily site visitors to my blog that whole first month. Then, I began to notice that some days were creeping towards 60, then 90 visitors. Then, 100 visitors a day became the average. Just like when I made my first Adsense money, I was ecstatic when I crossed over the 200 mark in one day! It does drop on some days, then it spikes again. I am just happy to have any visitors!

What I learned:

  • Make a pin for every post. Make more than one if possible. (I still have posts I need to do this for) I haven't always followed this rule - because I just didn't know it the time I posted, but white space in a pin is your best friend! Also, for some reason using a number in a pin seems to draw people in. I don't do this often, but I am starting to incorporate this more.

  • Make a picture just for Instagram. Using one from a post is great if it is the right square dimensions and it is bright and light. Using blues, I am told, gets more picture likes. But, I have not tried using more blue so I don't know if that is factual.

  • Make a tweet for every post. I haven't been 100% on this either, but I am getting better at remembering to do it.

  • Using hashtags is so important. It is how folks that do not follow you find your pin, tweet, and Instagram picture. Here there is a pin of the most popular ones to use.

  • Make a Facebook page for your blog. I really didn't want to and I do not post to it as much as I should, but when I look at my stats it does show that some visitors to my site have come to it by a Facebook link.

  • Make your blog SEO friendly! I had no idea what SEO meant (search engine optimization) and how to ensure I was using it correctly. It's like hashtags on social media - vital! I am still finding new ways to use it to it's full potential.

9 Weeks In

So, at 9 weeks in I have been able to work with national brands, have had my ads bring in a few more dollars, I've have been asked to and agreed to guest post on two social media platforms, and I was invited to become an Amazon Influencer.

My follower number for the blog is still small, but it has grown. I am not too worried about this. I hope it picks up. But, it's early days still. And, to tell you the truth I have not put much effort into begging/luring people to follow me. I am told I have to create a more enticing subscription sign-up form and design a pop-up to showcase it. I just have not done this yet. It's on my "by the end of January" list of thing to get done. 🙂

I also have not done a monthly newsletter - another item I am told is crucial. I may do this down the line.

I have a good feeling I am on the right track. I am not the style maven, the beauty expert, or the international travel guide. I do not focus on just one topic. But, it seems to be working. Actually, for only 9 weeks old, I'm really happy with my progress!

 

My Pinterest views have grown 70K in two months - even though my follower number is relatively low. My Twitter has grown by thousands, and my Instagram numbers have more than doubled.

I've joined some Pinterest Boards and have opened a few of mine to collaborators - this seems to have helped bring in views. I've seen so many posts and pins about using boosters (you join, put your pin there with a description, and others can pin it to their boards.) I used a tailwind trial and some people swear by it. It's nearly over and I am not paying for any boosters. I like manually pinning. And the numbers may not be as high as a lot of others', but for me a 70K increase is way beyond any expectations I had.

I joined some Facebook groups and they have been a great source of knowledge and help. I wrote a post a while back about Facebook groups knowing what I knew at the time. I have learned so much since then I plan to update it.

What I learned:

  • That it's okay NOT to conform.

  • That blogging is easy - growth is hard work.

  • There is so much more to blog growth than having a blog. I have seen some sites that have huge followings. They also correspond their blog to more social media outlets than I ever knew existed. I am sticking with the ones I know (Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter) and I don't foresee expanding into others. I may be missing out on grabbing more people's attention, but I think that is all I can, or want to, handle.

  • Blogging does NOT have to cost you a lot of $. The old adage "you need to spend money to make money" may be right. But, except for my blog host, I haven't spent a dime. I have no plans to either.

  • That many of the posts, pins, and offers that claim to help you with your blog and it's growth are often just great titles or images that have no valuable content or just want your money.

  • I still much to learn.

If and when I do become rich and famous, I promise never to post monthly income figure reports to gloat about. 😉 And, I promise not to make a post or a pin telling you how to make $1000 a day working from home blogging. The first is kinda rude and misleading, and the second would be a lie. I don't make $1000 a day blogging. If I ever do, I will write a post that explains how - free of charge!

It's funny that just weeks ago my ego and my confidence about my blog was at such a low point I considered stopping or changing it to fit into one category so I could attract followers and companies. Now, I am not over confident by any means. But, it does feel good to have a little extra income. It feels even better to have me, the "no niche" blogger,  have big brands contact me with partnership ideas.

 

Blog Milestones - How To Make BIG GROWTH in Short Time - Nisi Wanders

I do promise to continue to add posts that interest me in the hopes that they interest you as well.

Oh, and full-discloser: just because there is an outbound link on this page does NOT mean I am going to profit by it. Sharesale and Bluehost do give small commission if someone signs up through the links above. But, I wouldn't place them if I did not like and use them. Amazon, Adsense, CJ, etc. do not give commissions. There just sites I like and find easy to use.

 

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22 Comments

  1. Hi, Nisi,

    Wow – this post will be so helpful to me. Thank you for sharing this information! I am very new to this and I find the entire process pretty exhausting. But it’s fun, too.

    Hey, had a few Tyrconnell last night and thought of you. It was the good stuff from Christmas and man, was it yummy! Good night from Oregon! Vicky

    1. It is fun isn’t it? Especially when you get through a post and realize it’s not half bad! 🙂 I’m still waiting for one of my boys to send me Macallen – 15 or above I told him. Hasn’t shown up at my door yet 🙁

      1. Nisi, could you tell me how I can post an instagram photo (from my site) on twitter? I see your twitter always includes a photo. I managed to do it once, but all of my subsequent posts to twitter had no photo! I’m back in Blogging Hell!!! Thanks if you have a tip!

        1. Oh I wish I checked my comments sooner. I have been having issues on WP making posts into pages and I spent two days figuring that out (another post idea maybe?) But I am glad you figured it out! 🙂 I just tried a site called buffer. It makes it easy to post – with pics – and if I ever get ahead of the game I can keep some in my stash for slow days. It’s free too of course! 🙂 Off to play with the grandkids… Have a great night!

          1. Weren’t you in the group “Start a Money Making Blog?” I’m back into it and I’m getting tired of all this bs. I don’t mind Instagram and Twitter and Facebook, but having to put each photo on Canva for long pins on Pinterest? What a drag. I saw your comment that said “I promise never to brag about my monthly income” and I thought of the people who head that group. It rubs me the wrong way instead of inspiring me! Well, have a good day, Nisi! Vicky

            1. The Pinterest thing I like. Some of the stuff I find is fun or useful. Making the graphics is not bad, but I love playing around with Photoshop. It’s the time it takes to do it ALL!!! That group started off as a good support system (from the other members) but I am clicking to leave the group. No one there seems to really care as I thought at first. I have already opted out of their emails. They do not inspire me. Rubs me wrong because they keep pushing their very expensive 30 day thing – no wonders they make so much! But, I don’t remember seeing their expense reports with all the details. I saw a pin the other day from them they paid to promote. If they make 100,000 k how much are they spending to promote everything? I did the free 5 day course and I learned the same things I did from others (for free) and by trial and error. Yeah, they left a bad taste, but they are a good reminder as to what to watch out for! 🙂 TTL Vicki

  2. There is no question you have gained a lot of wisdom in recent months on how to blog more effectively and grow your following. Once you get more consistent in posting links to each new blog post on social media like Pinterest and Twitter, you will see a good response. It just takes time, keep on plugging away!

  3. This is the blog post I have been looking for. I really enjoyed how you have laid out what you are doing to grow your blog, and it’s very helpful for someone who started last week. Thank you very much!

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